Created By: johnnye on November 27, 2012 Last Edited By: johnnye on December 3, 2012

Fake Relationship

Two characters pretend to be in a relationship.

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Trope
I don't know if this will generate many examples that don't fall under subtropes, but seems like a case of Missing Supertrope Syndrome.

Simply put, two characters who aren't in a romantic relationship pretend to be.

Naturally, there's a high likelihood of them Becoming the Mask, or at least one character claiming It Meant Something to Me.

Supertrope of Undercover as Lovers, Operation Jealousy, The Beard, Citizenship Marriage, Shock Value Relationship, Boyfriend Bluff.

Contrast Secret Relationship. See also Fake Out Makeout.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • The premise of Nisekoi, translated as "False Love". The lead characters are pressured into pretending to be in a romantic relationship to keep their Feuding Families from getting out of hand.

Live-Action TV
  • Two KAOS agents once pretended to be in love, sharing a public kiss to escape detection by CONTROL. Max and 99 likewise often masqueraded as a married couple on missions before they got hitched for real.
  • Booth and Brennan did this several times on Bones before getting together for real. They went undercover as "Buck and Wanda" a couple of times, and once they did it at Brennan's school reunion.
  • The premise of the britcom Spaced is that the main characters believe they have a Single-Issue Landlord who will only rent the flat to a couple. It eventually turns out this was all based on a misprinted advertisement.
  • Frasier pretends to be Roz's date at a family reunion when she's recently been dumped and can't face her competitive, passive-aggressive sisters.
    • Martin pretends to date the mother of Frasier's Sitcom Arch-Nemesis as a prank on the pair of them.

Film
  • In Victor/Victoria, when Victoria starts masquerading as the female impersonator Victor she and Toddy pretend to be lovers.

Western Animation
  • Fry on Futurama gets himself into a fake relationship triangle. First he pretends to be Amy's boyfriend so that her parents would stop trying to set her up with men. Later he pretends to be Leela's boyfriend so that Zapp Brannigan will stop hitting on her. This becomes awkward when all of them are having dinner at the captain's table in front of both Amy's parents and Zapp.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • November 27, 2012
    turingfan
    Is this seriously not a trope already? If not it should be. Green Card springs to mind. And presumably every sitcom ever.
  • November 28, 2012
    StarSword
    Film
    • In Victor Victoria, when Victoria starts masquerading as the female impersonator Victor she and Toddy pretend to be lovers.
  • November 28, 2012
    SirQuady
    That's basically the driving thing behind the TV show Spaced
  • November 28, 2012
    reub2000
    • Fry on Futurama gets himself into a fake relationship triangle. First he pretends to be Amy's boyfriend so that her parents would stop trying to set her up with men. Latter he pretends to be Leela's boyfriend so that Captain Brannigan will stop hitting on her. This becomes awkward when all of them are having dinner at the captains table in front of both Amy's parents and Captain Brannigan.
  • November 29, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    Two KAOS agents once pretended to be in love, sharing a public kiss to escape detection by CONTROL. Max and 99 likewise often masqueraded as a married couple on missions before they got hitched for real.
  • November 29, 2012
    chicagomel
    Booth and Brennan did this several times on Bones before getting together for real. They went undercover as Buck and Wanda a couple of times and I think they did it at Brennan's school reunion too.
  • November 30, 2012
    SKJAM
    The primary premise of Nisekoi, translated as "False Love". The lead characters are pressured into pretending to be in a romantic relationship to keep their Feuding Families from getting out of hand.
  • December 1, 2012
    KJMackley
    A lot of overlap with The Beard, I really don't think there is anything covered by this trope that isn't covered by the subtropes.
  • December 1, 2012
    XFllo
    The Beard is currently written in such a way that it includes many versions of fake romantic relationship. Those that are listed here would fit there perfectly.

    So would you propose to make that one specifically for gay couples (it states it was the origin of the word and the meaning), and move the example to this trope?

    Otherwise, unless something similar is done, I'd say that yes, we already have this one.

    Supertrope is a neat idea though.
  • December 2, 2012
    reub2000
    Yeah, The Beard should apply exclusively to mixed-orientation couples.
  • December 2, 2012
    KJMackley
    That belongs in trope repair then before we go forward with any sort of rewriting of The Beard. As for my opinion the term may have originated in the gay community but there isn't a reason to divide a trope based on the reason it is used, as opposed to how it is used.

    For example, Undercover As Lovers is it being used as a sting operation and thus carries some espionage undertones. The Beard is when it is being used while under some form of social pressure and thus trying to deceive friends and family, making it exclusively for "gay/lesbian social pressure" is unnecessarily precise. I just don't see any pressing need to make the distinction and get a supertrope involved.

    There might be something when it comes to non-social pressure and non-espionage reasons, where there isn't a vital reason to pretend to be together but still do so anyway. Burn Notice had Michael and Agent Pierce pose as a married couple for no explicit reason except just as their cover ID, they didn't have to "promote" themselves as a couple other than just linking arms while they walked onto a ship.
  • December 2, 2012
    XFllo
    Just a note: Boyfriend Bluff would also be a subtrope.
  • December 2, 2012
    ayjazz
    • South Park: In the episode "About Last Night", it is revealed that Barack Obama and Michelle Obama aren't actually married, but it is all a ruse for getting Obama into office so he and Mc Cain can steal an expensive diamond. At the end of the episode, Barack decides to be president after all and asks Michelle to stay with him.
  • December 2, 2012
    MorganWick
    ^^^ Unfortunately, the stupid TRS backlog is preventing us from bringing this up...
  • December 3, 2012
    johnnye
    ^^^ Fair point. Although I don't see how that Burn Notice example wouldn't count as Undercover As Lovers.

    I didn't realise The Beard was so non-specific, I just assumed it only applied to gay people because it's term used in everyday English to mean "a gay person's fake wife".

    OK, I guess we could put these examples on The Beard for now, and then when TRS is accepting new submissions I'll propose splitting it.
  • December 3, 2012
    KJMackley
    Yeah, I knew that was kind of an iffy example, especially after I saw how vaguely written Undercover As Lovers was (it's basically so open ended it could fit under The Beard right now when it shouldn't). But I did some Google research and The Beard was apparently co-opted by the gay community from a slightly older meaning where it was about someone taking a date to parties to throw off suspicion they are having an affair with someone else who was married (in this case "the beard" is not about looking more masculine but the fact that it is able to hide your true face).
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